Madison Leads the Nation as WiFi Service Officially Launches

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - 6:10am

Madison – Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today lauded today’s official launch of Madison’s new WiFi network, “Mad City Broadband”. The launch of the new network fulfills a vision for municipal WiFi that the mayor first outlined in his “Healthy City” economic development agenda in 2004.

“While communities around Wisconsin and around the nation are talking about building WiFi networks, here in Madison it is now a reality,” said Cieslewicz. “This is a major step forward in keeping Madison on the cutting edge of technology, benefiting businesses and residents alike. It is also a very important economic development initiative, which will give Madison a competitive edge in attracting and retaining jobs and businesses.”

Cieslewicz first proposed a municipal WiFi network for Madison in May, 2004 at his “Healthy City” economic development conference. In December, 2004, the City partnered with Dane County and the State of Wisconsin to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking companies interested in building the City’s WiFi network. The initial lead vendor selected for the project, AOL, withdrew in September, 2005 and was replaced by Cellnet. The network is being built and operated without the use of any taxpayer funds.

Today’s launch of Phase 1 of the network covers the downtown area, near east and near west sides, and neighborhoods along the South Park Street corridor on Madison’s south side. The Dane County Regional Airport is also included. Ultimately, the network is expected to be expanded citywide, once the financial feasibility of Phase 1 has been established. Cieslewicz has indicated he would like to see that expansion occur within the next year.

More information about the program is available at

  • George Twigg, 608-266-4611